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WAR: What lessons do we teach our children?

Letter by Reneé Díaz de León Harvey, Puyallup on Jan. 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm with 66 Comments »
January 19, 2012 2:01 pm

Re: “War – ancient and modern – creates terrible moral contradictions” (TNT, 1-18).

I mourn the children of our country because they are being taught that war is necessary to secure freedom, that to hate and kill is their duty. We offer no options, insisting that war is society’s only choice. This, we tell our trusting children, is what defines patriotic citizens.

While our leaders may decide we must defend our country, it seems we are intoxicated with the blood of revenge. How many must be injured or killed before we choke on the horrific consequences of our actions?

We need to face the bitter truth that even if we believe it necessary to protect ourselves, when we main and kill we also inflict grave wounds on our hearts and souls. We stain the consciousness of our identity, our culture. These are the truths we do not teach our children.

Did the soldiers who cheered the maimed Taliban fighter as he died really believe they were cheering for their lives? What story will these men tell their children — one of heroism, guilt, remorse?

Many will mock my solution and think me naive. I am reminded of Dr. King, Gandhi and Mandela. Though requiring a different kind of courage and an understanding of spiritual principles, there are other choices.

I pray we teach the children who will lead our country that each of us has the power to envision peace and actualize it through our thoughts and actions. At least let us be honest and teach them they do have the power to choose.

Leave a comment Comments → 66
  1. alindasue says:

    As the bumper sticker says, “Peace is patriotic too.”

    There are those who say that peace is impossible because there will always be people who want to fight and a need to defend ourselves from them, but if each of us does our part to spread peace where we are, we can at least make a dent in the constant fighting.

    (By the way, before someone asks again – the ponies in my world are purple, not pink.)

  2. aislander says:

    It is sometimes difficult, sometimes easy to know whom and when to fight. WWII? Easy. War against a borderless ideology? More difficult.

    The Jews in the ghettos of Europe before and during WWII were assured that the government was rounding them up in order to protect them. They should have fought, but that was not clear at the time…

    War should be a last resort, but many times it is the only resort…

  3. aislander says:

    Gandhi, King, and Mandela were wise about one key factor: they chose civilized adversaries. Their tactics would have been sheer suicide against, say the Mullahs in Iran, the Taliban, Hitler, Stalin, or MOST of the regimes of human history.

    In any of those cases, we never even would have heard of Gandhi, King, and Mandela.

    Freedom and compassion are the historical aberrations, not the norms.

  4. lamofred says:

    A great and brave letter. Thank you.

  5. Misunderestimated says:

    Perhaps you can act on your ideology and fly to Pakistan, take a quick trip to the NW territory, and lead them in a rousing chorus of Kumbaya…

  6. WAR
    Edwin Starr
    (excerpted, not complete)

    War! huh good God

    What is it good for?

    Absolutely nothing

    Listen to me?

    Ohhh? War! I despise

    Because it means destruction?

    Of innocent lives

    War means tears

    to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight

    and lose their lives


War! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War! Friend only to the undertaker

    War! It’s an enemy to all mankind

    The thought of war blows my mind

    War has caused unrest in the younger generation

    Induction then destruction-

    Who wants to die?

    War! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker

    War! It’s got one friend, that’s the undertaker
War has shattered many a young mans dreams

    Made him disabled bitter and mean
Life is much to precious to spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life, it can only take it away


War! Huh Good God y’all

    What is it good for?

    Absolutely nothing

    Say it again

    If negotiations will not work, then there is a next step before war. If war can be avoided, in a place like Iran, by launching remote tactical weapons to eliminate their ability to make nuclear weapons, then that’s the way to go. If Iran still insists on developing nuclear weapons, then there may be no alternative left but war. I hope it never comes to that.

  7. Could someone please detail – of all the military actions undertaken by the US since WWII – which of those were necessary for defending our freedom?

  8. tommy98466 says:

    Beerboy… most of them except those that were started during a democrats administration. i.e. Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Mogodishu. Renee you live in lala land.

  9. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Real brave sitting behind a keyboard. This is the land of the Constitution, protected since our founding by war.

  10. alindasue says:

    beerBoy said, “Could someone please detail – of all the military actions undertaken by the US since WWII – which of those were necessary for defending our freedom?”

    Actually necessary for defending our freedom… none that I can think of.

  11. pantomancer says:

    Is google broke at your house beerBoy?

  12. tommy98466, 1/19 @ 4:25 PM “… those that were started during a democrats administration. i.e. Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Mogodishu. Renee you live in lala land.”

    tommy… You still owe me an apology from your very rude and grossly inaccurate (WRONG) post under the topic – PITTS: Columnist misharacterizes conservatives

    I proved your foolish comment on 1/17 @ 7:41 PM, under that topic, WRONG with my post at 8:06 PM. How bout that apology tommy-boy?

    Now, as to your latest foolish comment above,

    Korean War – Harry Truman (D) as a commitment to the UN

    Vietnam – Dwight Eisenhower (R) sent the first U.S. troops into Vietnam

    Mogadishu – George H.W. Bush (R) initiated Operation Restore Hope per UN agreement

    Kosovo – Bill Clinton (D) as a commitment to NATO

    tommy-boy, have you actually ever read a newspaper, or do you get all your history edumacation from Fox News?

    Renee has a much better grip on reality than you do tommy-boy. Do some research before you post more WRONG information next time, okay?

  13. Please those you say that war is wrong, please be the first to step forward. I want to see how well talk shields you against bullets, if words stops them I will apologize to you. If they don’t…At least we’ll know your heart was in the right place…

  14. alindasue says:


    Talk may not shield me from bullets, but diplomacy may keep them from flying in the first place.

  15. concernedtacoma7 says:

    BHO has killed how many people since he took office? And he is the most liberal president in our history.

    Bottom line is diplomacy does not always work.

  16. ct7. By your standards, Dubya killed at least 4,00 American military personnel and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani people. Then he dumped his wars into President Obama’s lap when he ran back to take his former place as Crawfords Village Idiot.

  17. 4,00 should be 4,000 (four thousand) but you know that don’t you ct7!

  18. bobbysangelwife says:

    Excuse me, but where on Earth does it say in ANY document in this country that we are to “hate and kill is our duty” to our country to “prove” our patriotism???
    I don’t recall that being in our Constitution, Bill of Rights, or any other State or Federal document—OP, perhaps you could enlighten us on that document?
    Nobody is teaching our children that this is the way it is if we want freedom, however it has been a choice we’ve had to make in order to obtain and maintain that at times.
    Our soldiers, sailors, Marines, air men, and Coasties…nowhere in their contract does it state that they are required to “hate and kill”. That is a FEELING that is developed–by some, not all–by firsthand experiences, losing a loved one–in which we as people feel better about placing blame on another for that loss.
    Generations have managed to serve honorably for just a few years or to retirement without fostering hostility towards other nationalities. To hate is learned, not commanded.

  19. madmike272 says:

    Typical left coast blabbering!

  20. SwordofPerseus says:

    ct7, either you have no concept of the word “Liberal” or none of US history. Because of the dramatic shift to the right in US politics in the last forty years, Barrack Obama would actually be considered a moderate republican much like Nixon or Ford. Our most liberal president in would be FDR, it might have been Kennedy but sadly that was a page of history which was never written.

  21. ct7 – Obama is not only the not “most liberal president in our history” – he isn’t even as liberal as Richard Nixon or Eisenhower. He is about as liberal as Reagan was.

  22. “not the” not “the not”

  23. Is google broke at your house beerBoy?

    google can only find things that exist in virtual space – Since there is no real evidence that the constant military actions of the US since WWII ended have been waged to “defend our freedoms” – it follows that google searches would be fruitless.

  24. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Muck- I have about 3 years in Iraq, all served at the company level (infantry). Pretty sure I know the number.

    It is the Soldier who prays the most for peace for it is he the bares the burdens and scars of war. I can’t remember where I read that but I find that statement powerful and true.

    Bb- BHO has grown govt at an incredible rate. He has spent away, ignored the Constitution, and pushed an aggressive social agenda. Yup, most liberal. Somehow in the middle of all that he played 90 rounds of golf, weakened our relationship with Israel, and supported a movement to overthrow stable, pro-US regimes in the ME. He is led by ideology, not reason. He surrounded himself with radicals and tax cheats. Gave up on leadership and decided he would be a one man show. He allowed Harry to run the least productive Senate in modern history. No budget in years, Obamacare no one wants funded by stealing from Medicare. A silly $19/week that stole from SS and taxed homeowners. A trillion dollar stimulus that only spent 10% on infrastructure.

    It will take 2-3 presidents and an active, conservative Congress to undo his mess.

  25. tommy98466 says:

    muckibr… what did I say? If I offended you, I meant to. You are one pathetic dude!

  26. Well tommyboy, you simply continue to confirm your rudeness, ignorance of the facts and complete lack of any personal integrity when you are proven to be wrong and are not man enough to own up to it.

    I believe your attitude is a good analogy to the same type of attitude exhibited by Iranian leadership, which makes it so difficult for the western world to attempt to communicate and negotiate with them to avoid war. You, like them, have taken a fixed position, that is most certainly wrong, and you, like them, refuse to be courageous enough to open your mind and consider that somebody else might be right and you might actually be WRONG. Maybe you should change your name to mullah-tommyboy.

    I’m not going to waste anymore time with you tommyboy. That is, unless you man-up and apologize, now twice.

    God Bless you tommyboy, but I am done with you for now.

  27. ct7, I was merely correcting a typo, and I did say that I was sure you knew what I meant. I also have some experience and time in uniform. Army, 7 years, Vietnam Era. I hear ya.

  28. alindasue says:

    bobbysangelwife said, “Excuse me, but where on Earth does it say in ANY document in this country that we are to “hate and kill is our duty” to our country to “prove” our patriotism???”

    When President Bush was first threatening to start his war in Iraq, those of us who protested it were labelled as “unpatriotic” both within these forums and without. It was during that time that I first saw the “Peace is patriotic too” bumper stickers. I liked them because they reflected the same thoughts I was posting in reference to the proposed war and the Constitution ignoring provisions of the so called “Patriot” Act.

  29. My persona thanks to concernedtacoma7 for reminding me of this famous speech:

    General MacArthur’s Thayer Award Speech — Duty, Honor, Country (1962)

    “… the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”


  30. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Thanks for the source. Glad I did not butcher it too bad.

    Ironically I remember reading it in a book (“On Killing” I think) and the author did not cite the origin. Now I need to check on that when I get back to civilization.

  31. It is short-sighted to see no connection between fighting for freedom in general, wherever it is threatened, and fighting for our own freedom.

    And those here who presume that our troops are motivated by hatred presume too much to say the least. Granted, you don’t train a soldier to confront a mortal enemy by portraying that enemy as a friend, so yes, combat training is risky business, but the generalizations made here about those who call for war and those who fight in wars is unfounded.

    As for hate, the Bible identifies things that God hates. There are things we should ALL hate IMO and do what we must to thwart those who perpetrate evil against humanity.

    And before anyone jumps on this, permit a preemptive comment. There are plenty of things in the U.S. that I think God hates, including greed, gluttony and the the exploitation of others. I am in no way suggesting that our homeland is free from sin.

  32. I’d say that the grander concern for children with detachment and violent tendencies is within the home.

  33. I don’t think I need to give you chapter and verse on the following, but if you want it, just let me know and I will post it as a follow-up.

    Jesus gave us Two Commandments: 1. Love God. 2. Love thy neighbor as thou loves thyself. (Summarized versions.)

    Jesus also told us that when someone slaps your face, turn your head and offer him the other cheek to slap.

    But, what Jesus didn’t say, at least I haven’t found it, is what to do if that jerk does go ahead and slap you on the other cheek. Or, if he puts a gun in your face.

    I believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Heaven, but am and not in any hurry to get there or see them. I’d like to live out my life here first, and then shuffle off this mortal coil in due time.

    If a country like Iran slaps America across the face, and America turns the other cheek as if to say, “Hey, why don’t we talk about this reasonably and come to some kind of agreement we can all live with?” But, Iran simply slaps America on the other cheek, then ALL BETS ARE OFF BABY! We’ve run out of cheeks. Raise your hand against us again and we will have to put it down for you. After all, we have people over here in America who don’t want to die of your stupidness with nuclear bombs, and the resulting fallout that would likely give us radiation poisoning and ultimate death.

    I don’t know about you folks, but I can think of a lot of different ways people die. One of the worst, from what I have heard and read about, is radiation poisoning. I don’t want to go out that way. Do you?

  34. ct7 – the only thing you cited that was an actual piece of legislation was “Obamacare’ – the rest was a bunch of blathering reassertion of your original asssertion – your claim is based upon circular logic.

  35. BlaineCGarver says:

    I’ll try to get this by the Blog Nazi..AGAIN….
    Gandhi wanted the Jews to march peacefully to their deaths (no resistance) Mandela dealt with his detractors by lighting a tire filled with gasoline around their necks. Peace did not destroy the Axis, the commies in Asia, or terrorists. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst and respond.

  36. Pacman33 says:

    bobbysangelwife said ~
    “does it say in ANY document in this country that we are to “hate and kill is our duty” to our country to “prove” our patriotism???”

    alindasue barked ~
    “When President Bush was first threatening to start his war in Iraq, those of us who protested it were labelled as “unpatriotic”’

    As anti-Iraq War fanatics elevated the contentiousness of their diatribes to levels that began to incite the dangerous atmosphere of negative morale with troops in harms way, they were labeled unpatriotic.

    When the some same crowd stooped to the dismal conduct of the inference of the troops themselves in their calumny, they were labeled traitorous.

    In other words they were quite accurately depicted.

  37. Pacman33 says:

    “But, Iran simply slaps America on the other cheek, then …”

    How many people have lost their lives after Iran has “slapped” America twice?

    Is their anyone left to defend?

  38. alindasue says:


    We who opposed the war were labelled “unpatriotic” even before the troops were sent simply because we dared question President Bush’s desire to “fight terrorism” in such a way.

    Many of those who protested, and who still protest, are veterans themselves. Are you going to tell me that they also are unpatriotic?


  39. ReadNLearn says:

    Nelson Mandela was a terrorist who was involved in the killing of two women. His wife supervised the torture killing to Zulu youths. Gandhi liked to sleep with children, he said it revitalized him.

    These aren’t role models for children. I’d rather have them looking up to Audie Murphy and Alvin York, both war heroes, any day of the week.

  40. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Bb- what do I need to prove? Harry led the least productive Senate in a century? Look it up yourself, or start reading some news that doesn’t come from the left.

    Only 10% of stimulus went to infrastructure? Old news. Slowest recovery? Old news.

    Social agenda with no budget? Fact.

    Don’t be lazy, professor. Prove me wrong, educate me please.

    But, in the case you were responding to brief exchange I had with muck, you would never understand the meaning and obliviously did not comprehend a simple dialogue.

  41. ct7 – are you commenting upon the correct thread? What does any of your most recent post have to do with American military actions over the past 60 years?

  42. ct7, No offense, but I was kind of wondering that myself. Can you tell us the linkage of your 4:03 PM comment to which prior comment it goes with? Thanks!

  43. concernedtacoma7 says:

    I just responded to Bb asking for a citation. Guess I drifted in my rant.

    I am fed up with facts vs rhetoric. Every topic is partisan and angry. I know I play my own role in this, and I guess they are all blending in head. That or I took the red eye last night and really need sleep

  44. ct7 “I am fed up with facts vs rhetoric. Every topic is partisan and angry.”

    I know the feeling. I kinda got a little fried on one of the other topics, but that happens in this format. I really just wish we could share info with each other and debate the issues without the emotional baggage coming into it, but some people seem to think this is some kind of competitive battle or something.

    Sorry if I have been short in any of my comments with you ct7. You might have had it coming, but then again it’s just as likely if not moreso that it was spillover from another exchange I had with someone else.

    Take it easy ct7!

  45. Pacman33 says:


    Don’t fall for their bs. Your post couldn’t have been more clear. bB just forgot he autoposted his generic cop-out comment @ 12:07pm after you surgically dissected his 5:25am Nixon / Eisenhower farce with your 7:15am post.

    As for muck, muck is a groveling sycophant that would laud anything bB said, to the point where bB might even be annoyed occasionally.

  46. Pacman33 says:

    Reneé Díaz de León Harvey~
    “Many will mock my solution and think me naive.”

    Is there a page #2 that provides any insight to this solution?
    Is the solution really to close our eyes real tight and ‘envision peace and actualize it through our thoughts … ‘ ?
    It seems that solution has been embraced before ……
    ….. by nations that are no longer.

    “I mourn the children of our country because they are being taught that war is necessary to secure freedom, that to hate and kill is their duty.”

    In the spirit of the ‘bitter’ truth, it wouldn’t be right not to tell the children of our country that the burdensome decision of taking the fight against a militant faction of Islamic extremists, to the to their soil, has thus far successfully staved off another deadly attack on our homeland. Further, I would hope we would at least be honest and explain how our military men and women have defended America throughout our history with courage and honor. They signed up to fight because they knew they had to; they signed up so someone else didn’t have to, so America would always be the great place it is. They did what they knew they had to do, never asking for recognition or fanfare.

  47. Pacman33 says:

    Events similiar to Thursday’s tragedy of six Marines, based in Hawaii, who lost their lives in the crash of a U.S. helicopter serving in Afghanistan have and continue to inspire many Americans to say thanks to their families and to those still serving.

    The problem is many Americans do not know how to do that. They don’t know anyone currently serving in the military and have no way to make that connection. To offset letters as this, the men and women serving in the military need to hear those positive messages of encouragement but there is a disconnect between the two groups.

    If you have ever thought about writing or simply saying a simple thanks, but never have, please don’t underestimate it’s value or ease. It might mean more than you think and there is nothing to it. Here are a couple of website links:

    This link contains an endless list of more, including sites to thank those who have returned wounded.


  48. beerBoy, If my comment annoy you, please let me know.

  49. Obama got Bin Laden. Bush’s wars didn’t. Work smarter not harder.

  50. muckibr – apparently my stalkers (jim keeps an extensive file on me, Pacman has researched my real identity and has kept up on my career since moving to Idaho [while complimenting my successes]) think they know enough about be to tell others how I am feeling about others who post here.

  51. me not be

  52. aislander says:

    So…beerBoy…exactly WHY to you guys wish to suppress freedom of speech?

  53. aislander – telling you not to yell “fire” in a crowded theater isn’t suppression of freedom of speech.

    And, more to the point, freedom of speech doesn’t apply on a PRIVATE site. Funny that you, as a “conservative” don’t realize that.

    But – explain to me how commenting frankly upon the behaviors of jim and pacman in regards to me is in anyway an attempt to suppress speech?

  54. aislander “exactly WHY to you guys wish to suppress freedom of” marriage?

    A right is a right, right?

  55. aislander says:

    beerBoy: I wasn’t speaking of suppressing the right of speech, but the practice of it.

    I realize that speech in this forum (like marriage in this state) is a privilege and NOT a right, but I still don’t get why you guys are putting hits on certain members in order to cashier them off the forum.

    Let a hundred flowers bloom, right (to call to mind one of your own)?

    And I’d prefer to be put back on its TBI list. That was like a refreshing vacation from, say, Detroit or Mogadishu…

  56. aislander, what you prefer is not relevant.

    Who is putting “hits” on whom in this forum?

    Who is getting cashiered?

    What are you talking about?

    The TOPIC here is WAR: What lessons do we teach our children? You want to focus on that for a bit?

    P.S. You referred to the “freedom of speech” which is a right. Don’t try to deflect.

  57. Let a hundred flowers bloom, right (to call to mind one of your own)?

    I haven’t a clue what you are referring to.

    The problem with partisan keyboard warriors is they insist upon choosing sides in their black and white, us v. them playground.

    While muckibr and I tend to agree on more issues than we disagree upon, we are definitely not lockstep on all issues and I don’t see us as being team mates.

  58. yabetchya says:

    muckibr says:
    Jan. 21, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I’m guessing it won’t be long before SPeters is blocked and he retunrs with a new name.

    You know this how? Is it because of the access and inside information you have on other posters. You do like to brag about that.

  59. “You know this how?”

    Because that’s what keeps happening to Larry, amJm, kpntrl, over and over again.

    Your comment is OFF TOPIC. Do you have anything intelligent to add as regards the topic of WAR: What lessons do we teach our children?

  60. Obviously he “knows” this because he has witnessed first hand he and his leftist friends can brak forum rules everyday with impunity and everyone else is held to a higher standard.

    BTW, I can’t help but chuckle at your self congratulatory b.s. about setting a trap. Your ego is getting the best of you.

  61. In all fairness to jimm – he makes little effort to hide his identity when he comes back.

    But…..since jimm crowed loudly about his Sherlock-like skills when he “outed” my at-work screen name “arts” (I posted once, jimm asked “arts” if I was “beerBoy”, I responded in the positive – what and amazing display of deductive reasoning!) and he still harbors delusions that I am “moderate” (I miss his posts – he wrote intelligently), it seems perfectly within karma to have some continue with the guessing game when it comes to him.

  62. Apparently he’s living in your mind rent free too.

  63. What is war?

    by Harry Browne

    The politicians’ stirring phrases are meant to keep our eyes averted from the reality of war — to make us imagine heroic young men marching in parades, winning glorious battles, and bringing peace and democracy to the world.

    But war is something quite different from that.

    It is your children or your grandchildren dying before they’re even fully adults, or being maimed or mentally scarred for life. It is your brothers and sisters being taught to kill other people — and to hate people who are just like themselves and who don’t want to kill anyone either. It is your children seeing their buddies’ limbs blown off their bodies.

    Read the rest at the following link:


  64. Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler – War is a Racket

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Brigadeer General, – farewell address

  65. beerBoy, just a slight correction, no big deal, but Ike was a 5 Star – General of the Army – when he retired and went back to PA before running for and winning election to President. (A Brigadier General is a 1 Star, of which Eisenhower had to be before he was ultimately promoted up through the general ranks to his 5 Star final rank.)

  66. Thanks muckibr – I rush through some of my citations and am not as careful as I should be.

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